The Battle Within

By: Joshua Bechdel

Some families have weird histories. Others do not. But the Lain family had a dangerous history… and they didn't even know it.

1,000 years ago, an evil was released into the world. It came in a red velvet box with golden chains and laces. The Lain family's oldest ancestor, Mistifus Lain, was given this box. One day he was walking down his path to town and saw the box. He picked it up and saw the gold laces and chains. He thought he might sell it. But what was in the box was a mystery. So Mistifus took the box home and set it on a shelf and forgot about it. The box sat on the shelf for three years and had a thick layer of dust on it until Mistifus found it when he was cleaning. He thought he might as well look at it, but was reluctant. But Mistifus was a very curious man. Too curious was the most curious Mistifus Lain. He looked at the box and saw the chains had no end. He touched the chains and a mysterious thing happened. The chain came unwound and fell to the floor. Mistifus lifted the lid of the strange box and screamed. No one heard the scream because just as Mistifus screamed, an evil filled him. But the evil wasn't there for long. The evil thing swarmed back into the box and the chains rewound themselves over the box. When others found Mistifus, he was dead and as pale as paper.

Jacob Lain was just an average boy, about the age of nine. He got good grades and did well in everything in school. You'd think nothing could ruin his life. Well…you're wrong.

One day, Jacob came home from school, but it wasn't a normal day. Today was Jacob's 10th birthday. He came home and saw his mom, sitting in a lounge chair watching T.V. Jacob's father died when he was born so Jacob never saw him. But Jacob knew that his mother still grieved for her husband. Jacob walked in the kitchen to see his sister, Jody, eating an apple. He noticed a small velvet box with gold chains and laces on the counter.

"Is that mine?" Jacob asked, as eager as ever.

"Yeah. Happy birthday," Jody replied in bored tone.

Jacob snatched the box and ran upstairs. He set the box on the stand next to his lamp on his nightstand and was about to remove the chains when his mom called for him,

"Jacob, time for dinner!"

Jacob, mad at his mom for calling him right before he could open the box, went downstairs for supper.

When Jacob finally got upstairs after eating supper, the sun was just setting. The shade cast an eerie shadow in the room. But Jacob didn't care. He grabbed the box off the nightstand and touched the chains. He was about to unwind them when they snapped and fell to the floor. After recovering from shock, Jacob lifted the lid. All of a sudden, a dark form floated from the box and entered Jacob. Jacob tried to scream, but it was caught in the back of Jacob's throat. Jacob fell to the ground, unconscious. He soon arose, but he wasn't himself. Someone was controlling him. Or something. Then the transformation took place…

Jacob's hands grew long claws for slashing anything or anyone into pieces. His mouth grew sharp fangs. His hair grew long and blood red. His clothes ripped and red shoulder pads and a red breastplate replaced them. Dark red pants covered the legs. His feet also grew claws. Finally, Jacob's eyes lost pupils and turned blood red.

"Are you all right up there?" Jody called up the stairs. Jacob didn't reply, but jumped and broke through the window. Now he was loose.

Down in the streets, cries of pain and agony could've been heard a mile away. Jacob, still in the demon-like form, slashed and slaughtered many people. People screamed just as they died, and Jacob grinned at this. Screams of pain, and agony were like medicine to him, soothing his pain.

Then, Jacob felt a shock of sensation in his body. His claws started changing back to hands.

"No! Not now!" Jacob cried in agony. He jumped forward, but didn't get far before his feet started to change back. He plopped to the ground. Jacob looked up and grinned. His house was in front of him. All he had to do was jump through the window. He looked at his feet. It was too late. His feet were back to normal. He then started feeling woozy. Jacob looked ahead and saw Jody and his mom coming toward him. That's when he blacked out.

Jacob woke in a daze. He was in his bedroom. Then he heard crying. Jacob looked to his right to see his mom, face full of tears.

"What's wrong, mom? Why are you crying?" Jacob asked his mother. He felt his shirt. It was soaked. He looked and saw a big stain of blood. He heard more crying. Jacob got up and went to his window, now shattered to pieces, and looked out. He too started to cry. Down below on the streets, there were dead and hurt bodies. Every body had slashes on them. Then Jacob remembered. He hurt them last night. He didn't know how though. Jacob was so sad that he grabbed a shard of glass and stabbed himself. He fell to the floor.

"No!" His mother cried, "Not my boy!" She got up and ran to him. Jacob's mom grabbed the shard, pulled it out, threw it, and hugged her boy.

"Mom, don't cry. I'm still with you," Jacob said in a weak voice. Then his voice turned back to normal, "How am I still alive? How?" Jacob asked, confused.

"I don't know, but at least you're still with me," His mom replied, holding him tighter.

"No, mom. I'm not with you. I'm a monster." Jacob said, starting to cry again, "I'm scared, mom. Protect me."

"I'm not sure if I can, but I'll try," Jacob's mom said in a scared tone.

Just then, the sun was starting to set.

Jacob started his transformation, but something was different. His hair and armor were blue. Instead of red, they were blue. But he still grew claws.

"No! I'm losing you. Don't leave me, Jacob! Don't leave me!" Jacob's mother cried, "Don't do it. Fight it, Jacob! Fight it!"

Jacob looked at the crying woman.

"Why are you crying, Miss? Do I frighten you? I'm here to help," Jacob said. Jacob walked over to the broken window and listened. Screams of pain and terror filled the air, "Why are they screaming?" Jacob jumped out the window.

When someone saw him hit the ground, they screamed, "It's back! The murderer is back!"

"You mean me? Huh? I would never murder!" Jacob tried to say, but it was too late. Someone had already called the police.

The police reached for their pistols and held them out, trembling at the creature. They were afraid that their weapons would not be strong enough to bring down the beast or even phase it. They tried anyway. The police pulled their triggers and many bullets were fired. The bullets hit the creature, the murderer, and it fell to the ground.

The police then looked at the beast and saw that its wounds were instantly healed. A policeman got scared and fired another bullet that accidentally hit a fellow policeman.

Jacob stared at the policeman whose side was bleeding. He got up and lifted his claws. The policeman waited for the ending blow. Waiting and waiting. The blow came, but the policeman didn't scream. The once bleeding wound was gone as if it never was ever there.

"I'm healed!" the policeman said, "Healed! Take my blessing, creature of nowhere," with that, the police got into their cars and drove away.

Now there was problem. After seeing the miracle with the policeman, everyone tried to crowd around the healing beast and have his or her friend or relative healed or brought back to life.

Jacob smiled at the sight of people moving from scared to joyful. He liked this. When his hands started changing back, Jacob ran from the crowd of thanking people and to his home. There, he changed entirely back to normal. He hugged his sister and mother as they came from the house.

"He's weak. He'll never learn to fight on his own. He'd be scared if he was left in the dark!" an angry voice shouted from inside Jacob's mind. Jacob let go of his family and wondered who was putting those words in his head.

"You have to realize that this boy wasn't made for destroying. He was made for helping. Please understand that he isn't for killing," another voice in his mind said. But this voice was calmer. Jacob thought of where the voice could come from. Then he knew. The good demon and evil demon were arguing over him, within him.

"Why don't we take this outside of the boy and fight face-to-face!" the evil demon said and then went silent. It was silent until Jacob felt his body shake and tremble. Just then, a dark cloud flew from his mouth and in the air. Then the cloud split in two.

The one cloud transformed into the red evil demon, claws and all. The other cloud changed into the blue demon that could heal anything. His face had a frown and he stared out into space, silent. The other demon was different though. He was grinning with an open mouth and he was breathing hard and deep.

"I'll defeat you and then destroy this city that you have healed. Then I'll conquer the world!" the evil demon shouted at the spaced-out demon. The blue demon just flicked his claws a little.

The evil demon was angered by this and shouted. He held out his palms toward the blue demon and a beam of dark red light shot towards him.

The blue demon just moved to the side, dodging the beam. "You have no aim. You're blinded by anger and your own thoughts of war. You can't hit me until you realize that this world would be better off without you!" the blue demon said in a voice so low Jacob had to lean in to hear it. But Jacob knew something. He had to stop this battle before it got out of hand.

The red demon closed his palms, making the beam disappear. The blue demon held up his palms and got ready to shoot his beam as the red one got ready for another shot. But then Jacob noticed that the red and blue demons were pointing towards Jody and his mother. It was time. Jacob had to stop the battle. When the beams were fired, Jacob jumped in front of them. The beams hit him at the same time and there was a big purple light. When it finally faded, Jody looked around for Jacob. She found him lying on the ground, a few feet from the house. The demons were both gone. Jody looked at her mom and saw she had something in her hand.

It was the box she gave to Jacob. Her mom got a match and lit the box on fire. It burned away quickly, leaving ash on the already scorched grass. Then she ran to Jacob. Jacob looked up at her, smiled, and blacked out.

Jacob awoke to see his mother and sister standing in front of him. Jacob eyed them awkwardly, trying to figure out what was different. Jacob thought for a moment and then he knew. They were smiling and happy. Just then, a man walked into the room. He was the same size as Jacob's mom and he had the same colored hair as Jacob. Finally, the man spoke, "Hello, Jacob. I'm…your father."

Jacob stared at the man with a surprised look. Then Jacob smiled and hugged his family. Jacob then ran to the window to look at the sun. He saw a figure move across sky. It looked like the blue demon. They waved at each other until the demon faded away. Then Jacob turned around and embraced his family, all back together.

Jacob said, "Let's go home."